If you’ve taken the preliminary steps to determine whether franchising your business is the right move for you and you’ve decided that it actually is, the next steps you’ll want to take involve determining how to franchise your business. Luckily, this post will walk you through all the steps you need to take to ensure you get your venture up and running and off the ground. Remember that the preparation process will take some time, up to or more than three months even, but in the end, the results could really be worth it. For starters, you’ll be able to earn additional income as well as grow into new locales by managing these from a distance. What’s not to like about this set-up? It’s quite appealing actually, isn’t it? So, if you want to know how a business can be franchised, just keep reading!
Steps Before you Launch
Whether you’re wondering how to franchise a service business or how to franchise a business that sells products, the steps in the process are essentially the same with some minor differences. However, there’s some groundwork that needs to be laid first before you get started. Wondering what it is? Here are the basics:
Decide if franchising is the right move for you
To determine whether franchising is right for you, you’ll need to take a good, long and hard look at your existing business. Ask yourself if it’s successful, and if so, how successful it is and whether it can be scaled. Also look at your strengths and weaknesses – both personally and professionally. Determine whether you’ve got the right budget to take on the costs of the franchising investment. It won’t come for free, that’s for sure. Check out trends in the industry and watch the economy’s movements. Can you and have you weathered economic storms in the past? How did you do this? What in your business model allowed you to do so? These questions are crucial to ask yourself as you embark on your journey of franchising your business.
Get the documentation in order
One of the most important things you’ll need to do before franchising your business is to get all the legal documents in order. You will not be able to proceed without a Franchise Disclosure Document or a Non-Disclosure Agreement, which you’ll end up having your franchisees sign. This is a means of protecting your intellectual property and your hard work to date. When these documents are ready, they need to be filed at the right place. Ideally, you will want to consult with a franchise lawyer to help guide you through the process and draft these documents for you so that there are no loopholes and that you’re fully covered should a mishap occur.
Draft your operations manual
This is a big one. It will take a lot of time to put this one together because it will essentially entail the transfer of all your business know-how to your franchisees. It needs to be so detailed and thorough that your operations manual gives and guides your franchisees through every step in the business process, whether it’s service or product based, enabling them to follow these steps to a T and carrying out their duties seamlessly. You’ll also want to detail how your brand needs to be used, mentioning limitations and permissions for your franchisees so that they don’t end up misusing your brand name and affecting your reputation negatively.
Protecting your brand
Your brand and your business’ reputation are intangible assets, but assets nonetheless. They also need to be protected and used uniformly so that all your customers have the same experience with any of your franchisees, irrespective of their location. Here, you will want to register your trademarks with the right authority (again, a lawyer here would be very helpful), and copyright your materials as well as logos. In the event that you don’t do this, your business could suffer significantly further down the road and this is a preventative step that taken early could save you a lot of hassles later on.
Time to establish your franchise
It’s time for legalities again. This time, to establish your franchise company. This will be a new business entity that is generally either a corporation or a limited liability company. This new company’s main business will be to sell franchises, support franchisees, build growth systems, marketing and advertising and more – depending on your aims and goals.
Register and file your legal agreements
Once again, check with your lawyer about where you need to file your NDA and FDD. These documents need to be submitted to the right office and get the right approval first before you can proceed to franchise your business. In some cases, public notices will be required.
Post-legalities: Your sales strategy and budget
Now that the legalities have been taken care of, you’ll still need to sit down and give your business and your new franchise business a good, strong think over. Two areas of consideration here include your sales strategy and budget. Your sales strategy should revolve around your target franchisees, target markets, the interest in your franchise etc. Meanwhile, the budget should be realistic enough to attract new franchisees without alienating them, all while providing the necessary space for their training and support.
After the Launch – Franchise Marketing and Sales
So, all the documents have been filed, you’ve got a legal entity. You even have interested franchisees. Now what? It’s time to put in place a strong franchise marketing and sales plan. You may need to get your franchisees to pool a certain amount of money together every month so that you’ve got a marketing budget to work with. Once that’s covered, it’s time to implement your marketing strategy.
Firstly, make sure you have a website and landing pages that will help your clients choose your business over others with your attractive design and witty copy. Set clear prices and clear expectations for your customers there and then and ensure that your franchisees don’t deviate from the norm. You’ll also need to engage in some search engine optimisation (SEO) to build trust among your customers with regular and helpful blog posts.
Then there’s paid advertising or pay-per-click advertising through various paid channels. Email marketing is another marketing strategy you could employ and as a final thought, you also need a social media presence. Being visible on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn is crucial to having a media presence and more visibility. It also boosts trust in your brand.
Franchisee Training and Ongoing Support
The final step in getting your franchise off the ground is putting in place systems that help your franchisees thrive. This means ongoing training and support. How will you do this? With time, you can determine which franchisees are performing well and which ones aren’t. Put the two together for a brainstorming and knowledge sharing session and see if one can help the other out. You also need to play a key leadership role as you will be responsible for setting the tone for how your franchisees operate and what types of services they perform. Offer to help them improve. Sometimes, a good and careful look into underperforming franchisees’ actions and steps will reveal small but valuable lessons that can be learned followed by small steps that can be implemented to ensure that the product or service provision is of a high standard that equals that provided by your other franchisees.
There are several requirements to start a franchise and several steps in the process to franchising your business. However, with good enough preparation and careful planning you can take your existing successful business and skyrocket it to fame in a matter of months. Just make sure you get the legalities, budget and after-the-fact requirements in order so that the process becomes a smooth and natural extension of your current business, enabling you and your franchisees to serve more customers in more locations, yielding bigger profits for both parties and ensuring everyone is satisfied with the role that they play in this chain of business events.